Sunanda-Tharoor PIL a Political Interest Litigation: HC to Swamy

The PIL sought a court-monitored enquiry into the mysterious death of Sunanda Pushkar.

3 min read
File photo of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy.

The Delhi High Court on Thursday, 26 October, dismissed BJP leader Subramanian Swamy's petition in the Sunanda Pushkar death case.

Swamy had filed a PIL in the Delhi High Court on 6 July, seeking a court-monitored enquiry into the mysterious death of Pushkar.

Swamy’s plea reportedly said that Sunanda Pushkar’s death case was an “extreme example of the slow-pace of the criminal justice process and the extent to which it can be subverted by the rich and influential.”

The PIL demanded an SIT probe, in a time-bound manner, and under the supervision of the Court, as per the provisions of the Article 226 of the Constitution of India, 1950.

A bench of Justices S Muralidhar and IS Mehta said the petition by Swamy cannot be entertained as a PIL, as it appears to be “a textbook example of political interest litigation being dressed up as a PIL”.

The bench also said that from what was placed before the court, it was unable to be persuaded that the probe, being carried out by the SIT, is botched up or under the influence of any party.

The court was also of the view that Swamy concealed information, based on which he had made "sweeping allegations" against Tharoor and Delhi Police, as he on Thursday offered to file an affidavit disclosing his source or reason based on which he had made the accusation. Reports also said that Tharoor and Ghulam Nabi Azad were not made parties to case, though he accused them of misleading the probe.

Although Subramanian Swamy claimed he has not concealed any data or information, when asked specifically about the basis of his allegations in the petition, his response was to seek time to file affidavit, thereby clearly showing that what was to be disclosed at the first instance was not done
the court said.

The bench also said that "Courts need to be careful that judicial process is not used by political persons for their own purposes".

"This is not to say that political persons cannot file PILs, but courts have to be extra cautious when allegations are made against other political persons," the bench added.

Following a court order earlier in September, the Delhi Police on 16 October, de-sealed room No 345 of Hotel Leela, where Congress leader Shashi Tharoor's wife Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in 2014.

The court had earlier rapped the police for not complying with its order to de-seal the suite.

While the south Delhi hotel has been urging the court to direct the police to de-seal the room which was sealed for investigation soon after Pushkar was found dead on the night of 17 January 2014, the court has also been directing the police to do so on several occasions.

Hours after Pushkar was found dead, the suite was sealed for investigation. An FIR was registered by the Delhi police on 1 January 2015 against unknown persons under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code.

(With inputs from Indian Express and PTI)

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